Welcome to the International Composers Festival 2022 

The International Composers Festival – the only event of its kind in the world – will be returning between May 20 and 22, bigger and better than ever. For the first time, all the concerts will be taking place in the same major venue – the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.   

And there have been more entries than ever, at the last festival in 2018, 800 comp-ositions were submitted for consideration. This year that number has risen to 365,000 from 860 composers from all over the world, from countries as diverse as Kazakhstan, Venezuela and Lebanon. Sixty have been selected for performance.

Orchestra rehearsal 
CREDIT: Peter Mould

The idea behind the festival, which was founded by Hastings resident and award-winning British-Argentinian composer Polo Piatti, was to showcase tuneful and accessible music being written today by living composers that will appeal to all.

There will be four concerts over the three busy days. On the opening night, Friday May 20, ‘Ovation’ will feature mainly new concert music performed by the vibrant 80-strong International Festival Orchestra under Principal Conductor John Andrews and associate conductor Jack Wong. 

The evening will feature the premiere of Polo Piatti’s Old World Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, performed by virtuoso cellist Tim Posner (with his proud mother, the former Principal Cellist of the London Mozart Players, playing in the orchestra) and a per-formance of Anne by one of the UK’s best-known composers, Debbie Wiseman OBE, from her beautiful album Kings and Queens

On the Saturday morning, May 21, there will be a chamber music concert, ‘Small is Beautiful’, performed by international and local soloists, with the Hastings Sinfonia Wind Quintet and the Festival’s very own ICF Piano Quartet. Composers from France and the US will be travelling to Bexhill to perform their own compositions.

Saturday evening brings a barnstorming concert of film, TV and games music. Pieces from major films such as Slum Dog Millionaire, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean. And there will be gentler music from TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, and new music being written for as-yet unseen productions.

Principal conductor John Andrews
CREDIT: Peter Mould

Sunday afternoon features a family concert called ‘Songs and Dances from Around the World’, with specially commissioned symphonic dances reflecting music from different regions of the world, some of them choreographed and performed by the Eastbourne Academy of Dancing.

There will be international collaborations such as an emotive piece by US-based Mexican composer Jose Elizandro, choreographed and performed by St Leonards-based Japanese Butoh dancer Yumino Seki. There is also a premiere of the ‘Hastings Lifeboat March’, composed by the highly successful local composer Paul Lewis. This is an imaginative musical tribute to the bravery of Hastings lifeboat crews.

Hastings also contributes in the form of local favourites the shanty singers from Rock-A-Nore Sound and Sambalanco, the samba drumming band, both playing with a symphony orchestra for the first time.

The concert will close with a performance of festival patron Nigel Hess’s extraordinary The Way of Light, featuring young star Eleanor Grant, actor John Watts and St Richard’s Catholic College Choir. 

The joy of the festival is that composers come from around the globe to hear their music being performed. And they really want to know what people think about the sounds. So they are there, in the audience, and they want to talk to as many people as they can. It’s a unique, informal and engaging atmosphere. It is also likely to be great fun!

Tickets are available from the De La Warr Pavilion box office.

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